Nintendo over the last year has achieved an incredible turn around – turned a stalling market back into an exciting one and completely outflanking its competitors – in particular Sony.
It did this by creating a product which took a very different direction to the increasing tired direction of the market leaders. Looking around the SOA software market today, it is hard to tell the difference between most vendors’ offerings and to a large degree they are simply improvements over previous versions. Perhaps we need a similarly innovative approach to addressing the development issues I have discussed or the skills issue that Steve covered.
If you look back to before its launch in early 2006, all analysis of the next generation games console market assumed it was Microsoft versus Sony and the battleground (if you excuse the pun) was who could give the most ”accurate” violence/car racing experience for the core market: 25-35 males. The market was mature and there was simply no way, Nintendo (or any other entrant) would get a significant slice off the big two.
Nintendo went in a totally different direction – focusing on the user interface with its novel take on the controller. This totally changed the market – drawing in females and younger gamers as well as providing games that were actually different. This has allowed Nintendo to make profits, sell many times more units than the ‘old rivals’ Sony and Microsoft – and become much more valuable as a company than Sony itself.
At the risk of stretching the point, looking at the SOA software market, most analyses assume that nothing radically new can happen to break the strangle hold of the big stack vendors (IBM, Oracle et al). This may well turn out to be the case – but let’s not assume that there can be nothing truly disruptive will not happen. Furthermore, I would suggest that something truly disruptive is actually needed to shake off the productivity and skills issues that threaten to derail SOA.